Hong Kong police issued citizens with fixed penalty tickets for violating the coronavirus ban on gatherings in Yuen Long on Tuesday night, as dozens staged a sit-in at a shopping mall to mark nine months since protesters and train passengers were indiscriminately attacked by a white-clad mob.

Dozens of black-clad protesters hold a sit-in at Yoho Mall in Yuen Long on April 21 to mark nine months since the mob attack. Photo: inmediahk.net.

At Yoho Mall, next to the Yuen Long MTR station where the attack took place last July, protesters dressed in black chanted slogans and held flags that read “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times.”

Posters prepared by protesters accusing police of colluding with the mob attackers. They also called a Yuen Long farmer a “fugitive,” after he was caught on camera with one of the attackers. Photo: inmediahk.net.

A total of 45 people were injured last year – including journalists, protesters, commuters and pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting – as over 100 rod-wielding men stormed the station. The police were accused as colluding with the attackers by arriving at the scene late and failing to make any arrests that night.

According to local media, around 40 people had gathered at the mall by 8.30pm on Tuesday. Security guards had urged protesters to “keep proper social distance,” as the government had imposed a ban on gatherings of more than four people last month in a bid to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

A security guard at Yoho Mall in Yuen Long holds a sign to urge citizens gathering at the mall to mind social distancing. Photo: inmediahk.net.

The crowd in the mall dispersed at around 9 pm.

Riot police deployed on Yau San Street in Yuen Long on April 21. Photo: Joshua Kwan/United Social Press.

A large group of riot police stationed in Yuen Long conducted stop and search actions around the district. At around 10 pm, a group of teenagers were stopped by officers on a footbridge near the shopping mall.

Citizens stand in one line while police conduct stop and search near Yoho Mall in Yuen Long on April 21. Photo: Joshua Kwan/United Social Press.

The police had marked down their personal information and issued fixed penalty tickets to the group for allegedly breaching the gathering ban. Some of the ticketed citizens told reporters that the officers had stopped them and asked them to stand in groups of five with people who they did not know. They said they would lodge a complaint.

Citizens were ticketed for breaching the gathering ban on a footbridge near Yoho Mall. Photo: Joshua Kwan/United Social Press.

According to Yuen Long District Councillor Tommy Cheung, riot police on Yau San Street – where a blue warning flag was raised – had told the crowd to disperse, otherwise they could be penalised for violating the gathering prohibition. Earlier, the police also warned citizens to leave the scene, claiming that they could be taking part in an unauthorised assembly.

More people were ticketed near Fau Tsoi Street and Yau San Street, including two men who claimed to be first aid volunteers. One of them said to reporters at the scene that he was buying a takeaway, adding that he would consider asking the eatery to provide security footage as proof.

Two citizens who claim they are first aid volunteers show their tickets of fixed penalty to reporters. Photo: Joshua Kwan/United Social Press.

Another male citizen told RTHK that he was walking his dog alone, and the officers did not explain why they gave him a ticket.

A ticket of fixed penalty issued by police on Fau Tsoi Street in Yuen Long on April 21. Photo: Joshua Kwan/United Social Press.

“My dog was with me, I don’t think I have to explain I was walking my dog,” the man said. He added: “[The police] did not accept any explanation, [they] said if I had any explanation I should tell the court.”

Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.